Friday, December 14, 2012

Solar Powered Coop - Update 3

Not such good news today.

I checked in the pasture to find what looked like a small explosion!  Apparently one of the tposts had slipped sideways, and allowed the winch plate to slide off, suddenly releasing hte pressure.  The result was  wires snapped in two, electrical boxes pulled apart, parts strewn here and there, and hte winch about 3 feet away. Must have been quite a sight!

Fortunately I did some research and understand now a couple of approaches to building a winch anchor  (not sure why I didn't do this sooner!).  So.. we are collecting up the pieces, and will rebuild to the new specs.  I am 80% sure the next round will work.

Electrically I figured out how to make the winch run only in the daytime, without another timer.  Solar Cells make great sunlight detectors! There is a simple wiring change that makes the winch only run if the solar cell is generating power (meaning daytime). It does take an extra relay (need more sensitivity than the winch relay allows), but thats it. 

The next step (after reassembling everything and building a true winch anchor to hold it securely) Will be to connect the laying lights. These are two 12v fluorescent lights that will run of the battery. I "think" i can rig an interesting timer circuit that will basically extend the daytime by adding earlier morning each day, and automatically track the sunrise / sunset. A little experimentation is in order here. 

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